Growth and crown architecture of two aspen genotypes exposed to interacting ozone and carbon dioxide

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To study the impact of ozone (O3) and O3 plus CO2 on aspen growth, we planted two trembling aspen clones, differing in sensitivity to O3, in the ground in open-top chambers and exposed them to different concentrations of O3 and O3 plus CO2 for 98 days. Ozone exposure (58 to 97 μll-1-h, total exposure) decreased growth and modified crown architecture of both aspen clones. Ozone exposure decreased leaf, stem, branch, and root dry weight particularly in the O3 sensitive clone (clone 259). The addition of CO2 150 μll-1 over ambient) to the O3 exposure counteracted the negative impact of O3 only in the O3 tolerant clone (clone 216). Ozone had relatively little effect on allometric ratios such as, shoot/root ratio, leaf weight ratio, or root weight ratio. In both clones, however, O3 decreased the shoot dry weight/shoot length ratio and shoot diameter. This decrease in wood strength caused both current terminals and long shoots to droop and incrased the branch angle of termination. These results show that aspen growth is highly sensitive to O3 and that O3 can also significantly affect crown architecture. Aspen plants with drooping terminals and lateral branches would be at a competitive disadvantage in dense stands with limited light.

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Environmental Pollution